Lawsuits: Cheaper drilling plan used in gas rig explosion

QUINTON, Okla. (AP) - Two lawsuits allege that the operator of a gas well that exploded in southeastern Oklahoma used a cheaper and quicker drilling plan despite experts' advice.

The Tulsa World reports that the January explosion near Quinton killed five workers who were from Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.

Amendments filed earlier this month to the wrongful death lawsuits allege Red Mountain used a lighter drilling fluid mixture, which posed a greater risk in order to save money.

Drilling fluid serves as the primary defense against well blowouts and must be dense enough to keep underground fluids from entering the well bore.

Red Mountain and Crescent Consulting, an engineering firm which was contracted to oversee the drilling operation, denied the allegations. Patterson-UTI, which was contracted to perform the drilling, also denied wrongdoing.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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